Ford has been a social media friendly company and just as always, the online community had a one to one interaction with J Mays, Group Vice President, Design, and Chief Creative Officer, Ford Motor Company. He is responsible for shaping the global design direction of Ford Motor Company’s Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands; and working to create long-range strategic design visions that support the worldwide ‘One Ford’ business model and Nigel Wark, Head – Sales and Marketing, Ford India. The topic of discussion was the all new Ford EcoSport.
Pointers from the interaction –
1. The question which was first put forth by Nigel and J Mays was whether we liked the new ecoSport and the answer from the online community was unanimous. No we didn’t like it, we really LOVED it. Ford has collected feedback from the media since the unveil and the media agrees that the ecoSport is one hell of a looker.
2. When I asked Nigel about powertrain specs, it was a given that he won’t reveal much prematurely, but my aim was not to really know the specs but to try to figure if Ford will be offering a diesel engine option, and we are certain a diesel powerplant will be surely be on the cards, its unlikely to be derived from the Figo but could well be the same 1.5 litre engine which powers the Fiesta or a new engine altogether. The petrol variant will be powered by a state of the art 1 litre ecoboost engine with will churn out 120 bhp and should deliver great mileage but diesel will be the key driving force in the current market situation.
3. Launch date is yet to be announced. The display car was most probably flown in from Brazil. Ford has invested a huge sum into their Chennai plant to up production capacity. We expect the Ecosport to hit the road either in the later part of this year or early next year.
4. Ford has studied the market carefully over the years and the ecoSport will enjoy excise benefit since it is a sub 4 metre vehicle. When J Mays was asked whether it is a sub 4 metre car, he said “We’ll have to be crazy not to think of that”. This is crucial to the pricing. Some may consider the Renault Duster to be the primary competitor but we are confident Ford can spring a surprise with the pricing, besides the Duster is a larger vehicle is should be priced higher than the Ford in question.
5. Nigel mentioned more than once that ecoSport will come with a healthy list of goodies which will be the best amongst the competition. We will have to wait and watch on this.
6. Another point which I put forth was whether the production version will look similar to the concept showcased. If you go back by two years, remember the Maruti R3 concept, it looked good (besides looking too similar to the Opel Minerva) but the production version or the Ertiga have nothing in common as far as looks and interiors are concerned. Same is the story with Bajaj’s Nano rival concept when it was showcased two years ago but the RE60 is something’s else altogether. After listening to my quoted examples, J Mays promised that the production version will look exactly the same, hopefully including the LED headlamps.
7. Somebody from the online pool asked whether the ecoSport will fit between the Fiesta Classic and the New Fiesta, i feel its going to attract a different customer altogether. Assuming the price is same, a sedan buyer may not choose the ecoSport and vice versa. Ford’s study suggests that the target buyer will be a young urban person, someone like ‘Ajay’, but possibly with a liking for Sports utility vehicles.
We expect Ford to do with the EcoSport what they did with the Figo. Priced competitively, this has the potential to be a best seller for Ford, not only in India but globally.